Kate Middleton's uncle, Gary Goldsmith, has told how he gave the Duchess of Cambridge her passion for fashion by buying Kate her first Gucci handbag.
Gary, who is Carole Middleton's younger brother, gives a world exclusive interview to HELLO! magazine, breaking his silence to offer a refreshing, new and candid insight into the woman who will one day be Queen.
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He tells how Kate was more of a tomboy than into style before going to university and recalls how fun-loving Kate and her younger siblings Pippa and James spent hours having water fights in Carole's back garden.
Gary, 47, also speaks about meeting Prince William for the first time, when Kate took her then boyfriend to a dinner party. "When I saw them together you actually just thought, even if he wasn’t going to be the King, they would make a great couple," Gary tells HELLO!. "They were very, very good together.
Gary and his daughter Tallulah, 11, were among the guests at the royal wedding in April 2011. He reveals how James Middleton turned to him for advice before delivering his reading at Westminster Abbey. At Gary's first wedding, Kate and Pippa were bridesmaids, and James was a pageboy.
Gary and Tallulah were photographed by HELLO! at their home in Ibiza, the colourfully named Maison de la Bang Bang. William and Kate and the rest of the Middleton family have all been to stay "Carole told me afterwards that they all had a brilliant time," he said.
"The house is very relaxing and it's very, very secure. You've got walls all the way around so it's very difficult for people to pry on you." Of the trip in 2006, Gary says: "Carole asked if the family and Prince William could use it [the house]. We organized a whole itinerary for them, including going over to a neighbouring island on a boat.
"Back at the house a friend of mine was teaching William how to mix on the DJ decks and he performed to the whole family as they swam. So they all had the Ibiza experience from mud baths, to (nightclub) Pacha, to learning how to mix music." Gary also addresses the time he was caught up in a News of the World drug sting and how Carole called him to offer her support after the story appeared. He also tells of lavishing Christmas presents on his family as he is a self-made man who built up a £30m fortune.
Gary who defends press criticism of Pippa adds in the world exclusive interview: "I think the girls and James were beautifully brought up and I'm trying to emulate that with Tallulah."
When asked if Kate and Pippa have similar characters he tells HELLO! "They are different. Kate works really hard at everything. She is brilliant at whatever she turns her hand to, but works at it, throwing herself into everything. Whereas Pip, everything seems to come very easily."
"I feel so defensive about Pippa," he adds. "She gets absolutely slaughtered for not working, and then when she does get a job, she gets attacked for doing that too. The poor girl just can't win. It's so unfair on her. I wish people would give her a break and let her get on with it."
Gary explains that he has decided to speak to HELLO! because he feels he has been unfairly portrayed by the press over the years and wants to tell his side of the story.
He is full of pride for Kate. "She is this confident, clever, caring girl who has taken her responsibilities in marriage and job incredible seriously. I think everyone thinks she's sincere, in love and doing her job to the best of her ability."
For the full interview see HELLO! magazine, issue 1269, on sale now.